District Court Division
The District Court Division of the State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutes the vast majority of criminal cases initiated in Howard County. Currently, the District Court Division handles over ­­­­ 17,000 criminal charging documents and serious traffic citations each year. On any given day, the criminal docket  is comprised of cases involving a wide variety of crimes including assault, possession of drugs, theft, harassment, stalking, trespassing, and malicious destruction of property. The serious traffic docket includes offenses such as drunk driving, hit and run, driving without a license, and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

The office is committed to the aggressive prosecution of drunk and drugged driving cases. This office routinely files notices so the State can seek enhanced penalties whenever a defendant is eligible for harsher penalties due to prior convictions. Our office not only frequently pursues jail sentences to punish offenders but also routinely asks to the court to place the offenders on probation including court-ordered drug and alcohol education and treatment programs.

Alcohol Diversion Program

The Alcohol Diversion Program of the State's Attorney's Office provides an opportunity for first-time offenders 18 years of age and older who are charged with minor alcohol offenses (Drunk Driving cases are not eligible for the diversion program) to avoid a criminal conviction. The accused are offered the chance to accept alcohol education or treatment in lieu of formal prosecution. If the offenders choose to enter the program, their cases are removed from an active criminal status and made "inactive."  Upon successful completion of the program, the case is dismissed, thereby allowing the accused to expunge his or her police and court records. If the accused does not successfully complete the program, the case is made active and scheduled for formal prosecution.

By diverting these offenders into education and treatment, the program improves the operational effectiveness of the court process by providing early diagnosis of alcohol-related problems, providing education and or treatment for those problems and offering an alternative to criminal penalties for the accused when the community benefits more from treatment.

To guarantee a high quality of service to Diversion Program participants, the State's Attorney's Office holds periodic meetings with and reviews of treatment providers and other agencies that provide services to participants.

Bad Check Restitution Program

The State's Attorney's Office provides a bad check program in order to obtain full restitution for the victim merchants much sooner than often occurs after formal court proceedings. Additionally, merchants are able to receive restitution without adding these cases to the already busy court dockets and without the merchants ever having to spend any time attend court.  The Bad Check Restitution Program operates in conjunction with American Corrective Counseling Services which works between the private and public sectors. First time offenders are given the opportunity to avoid criminal prosecution by attending a mandatory, eight hour class, in addition to paying restitution. All of this is accomplished without any cost to the taxpayers.

For more information contact the Bad Check Restitution Program toll-free at 1-800-831-6577 or visit the website at www.checkprogram.com/howardcountymd.  Checks ineligible for the State's Attorney Bad Check Restitution Program may be pursued via small claims court process, criminal court proceedings, or by a private collection agency.

Board of Education Liaison

The State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to working with Pupil Personnel Workers (PPW) from the Howard County Board of Education in truancy cases. Our office criminally charges and prosecutes those parents and guardians responsible for unlawfully failing to send their children to school. Prior to taking the serious step of instituting criminal charges, the State’s Attorney’s Office works with the PPWs by reviewing truancy cases and by warning parents and guardians that if they do not correct the truancy issue, they may face criminal prosecution.

Citizen Charging/Screening Program

When a citizen, who is not a law enforcement officer, swears out criminal charges against another person, at the District Court Commissioner’s Office, our Office reviews these cases as quickly as possible through our Citizen Screening Program in the  District Court Division.  This Screening Program is a valuable opportunity to: (1) gather more information from the victim about the incident so we can properly prosecute the case; (2) explain the criminal process to the victim; and (3) to evaluate the case and determine whether the case should proceed for trial, be diverted outside formal prosecution, or dismissed.

Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center & Prison Liaison

The State’s Attorney’s Office works with representatives of the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, the Howard County Detention Center, and the State Division of Correction to screen and prosecute criminal cases occurring in those institutions. Occasionally, crimes occur within these facilities, including assaults of patients, inmates, or employees of the facility. The liaison works with the security departments of these facilities to obtain all of the relevant evidence and makes appropriate charging and prosecution decisions.

DUI/Drug Court

The Howard County DUI and Drug Court fosters partnerships between prosecutors, defense attorneys, case managers, law enforcement and alcohol/drug treatment professionals. Offenders must voluntarily enter the program and they are subject to strict compliance with rigorous treatment protocols that are verified by frequent testing, close community supervision and interaction with the judge during regular in court review hearings.  DUI and Drug Court are dedicated to changing the behavior of offenders addicted to alcohol or drugs who are arrested for DUI and drug-related offenses. The goal of this program is to protect public safety by attacking the root cause of the offenders’ criminal case: alcohol and other drug abuse. Those involved in the DUI and Drug Court team systematically change participant behavior early in the legal process through mandatory rehabilitative services. The end goal for offenders is a lifetime of substance-free living, enhancing the quality of life for both the offender and the Howard County community.